New on Vinyl: Brian Eno & David Byrne – My Life in the Bush of Ghosts

Brian Eno & David Byrne - My Life in the Bush of Ghosts

A fascinating album to say the very least.

I’ve been a big fan of Talking Heads and David Byrne for years – actually, since I was a child, aged ten listening to Stop Making Sense over and over again while playing G.I. Joe with my brother. What can I say, Joe had some funky adventures.

This album opens with a track I found almost unlistenable at first, America is Waiting, which features a sample of an irate talk-radio host. The prodigious and precautions use of sampling on this album in fact held back its release, and it still stands as a shining example of a very early use of the technique. Moreover it is an analog recording, and therefore the samples would have had to have been synched manually, a difficult and frustrating task which often led to chance discoveries and happy accidents. The sampling itself, which also includes Lebanese mountain singers, an exorcism and radio evangelists sits in interesting juxtaposition to the African rhythms, which are complexly overlaid resulting in an intricately interwoven tapestry of funky punctuation. Eno would later say he thinks the principally innovative factor isn’t the sampling itself inasmuch as how the sampling is used as the principle vocals.

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